In this age of connectivity, it can be difficult to release yourself from the digital chatter and experience the senses and sounds of nature. It may seem a daunting task to find a long stretch of grass unencumbered by concrete or a waterfront not buzzing with the sounds of powerboats.
Not to say that Easton and its surrounding areas don’t offer outdoor venues for playing, exercising, and relaxing. We are fortunate to have a great number of parks and playgrounds to visit on a balmy afternoon. However, there is no place in the town of Easton to simply just “be” in nature, no place to take a walk, paddle a canoe, or enjoy a calm picnic away from the bustle and congestion that so often accompanies an outing at Idlewild.
The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) along with The Center for Towns, members of Easton’s Town Council and The Town Creek Foundation are seeking to change that. They seek to transform 11 waterfront acres located at the end of West Glenwood Avenue into a public park.
Located along the Tred Avon River, the property is formerly a dumpsite. Now free of trash and debris, it offers tremendous potential. “People want walking paths, running paths, connections to bike paths, a place to drop in a canoe,“ says 4th Ward Town Councilwoman, Megan Cook. “The main goal is to give the community access to the water.”
Thus far, it has been a community-driven project. “We handed out 100 cameras to various groups to take pictures,” says Cook. These pictures could be taken anywhere, the idea being for people to first take pictures of things they wanted changed and to then take shots of things they liked. The ESLC then printed and grouped the photos on large posters. At a community forum, attendees were given sticky notes on which to write their thoughts and reactions to the photos.
“Those poster boards and comments were then given to landscape design students from Philadelphia University so they could begin to develop ideas,” continues Cook. Philadelphia University became involved in the process when The ESLC put feelers out to a variety of organizations in hopes that one might offer design help. The future look of Easton Point became a semester-long design project for Philadelphia University students taking a graduate class in Landscape Architecture.
“We are now waiting on the final designs from the students,” says Cook. “We will take five designs and then decide where to go with the project.” Once the design is finalized, there will be more opportunity for community involvement, funding will have to be obtained, and an environmental clean up will have to take place.
The vision for the property is to one day increase its access through additional paths and open spaces to Easton’s West Side. Easton Village hopes to fund a footbridge to the site, opening up access to even more people.
Once all the pieces have fallen into place, Eastonians will have an oasis right in town. It will be without sports fields and playgrounds, but rather a place of respite where folks can relax and everyone will have access to what draws us to the Eastern Shore: the water.
To follow Easton Point's progress visit www.centerfortowns.org/portfolio-item/easton-point/.